Late October, when the leaves on the trees have finally done the thing with cholophyl that makes everyone ooh and ahh just in time for rain and wind to come along and blow all those leaves from the trees. Nature can be brutal at times. Central Indiana will see temps drop into the 20s later this week. Doesn’t exactly sound like a great time to ask someone to be taking their clothes off for pictures, does it?
Fortunately, we’re almost done shooting for the year. We’ll book a couple more concepts that are really making my brain itch, but for the most part, I have everything in the can that we need to take us through December. This is important because deadlines for submissions to next year’s art shows are already looming large. Not only is there a lot of editing to be done, but there is also that perpetually important yet impossible question to ask: what makes art?
Frustratingly, that question is made more difficult with the addition of an adjective: what makes salable art? Sure, there’s a personal emotional benefit to making art for art’s sake. That always strips away some of the joy of the creative process and replaces it with the ugly reality that no, I’m not independently wealthy nor do I have a deep-pocketed sponsor who lets me do what I want. There are bills to pay, dogs to feed, and mouths to feed. Something has to sell.
When having this discussion with myself, and I rarely ask for an outside opinion, I look at what sold this year (not much) and consider what modifications we might make to submit pieces to art shows that are not only accepted by the juries but are exciting enough that people want them in their home or other places where nude art is socially acceptable. We try a lot of different things and not everything works as well as we want it to.
For example, I really like this year’s experimental series but when I looked to apply to this week’s photos there was really only one look where it felt appropriate. Yes, it was totally an emotional decision on my part. The added abstraction didn’t work with other pictures in the set.
Not as difficult a decision was the determination that everything would be LAB processed monochrome. For most of this week’s photos, that meant playing more on the low key end of the scale. As a result, the one look that was shot against white walls jumps out and screams for attention. Does that make any of them more salable? I’m never sure until someone buys one. I know if I saw them I’d want to buy them all, but I’ll also admit to being a touch biased.
I’m considering submitting some non-nude pieces this year but where to submit them is still an open question. This set, however, plays within the middle range of being provocative without taking the eroticism to socially uncomfortable levels. In fact, given changing opinions regarding nudity, a couple of these images are almost safe for work. Almost. This is definitely the softer end of erotic art.
My huge thanks to Ashley for spending the better part of a morning with us running around naked and especially for trusting me on the viability of shooting inside a restroom. Please click on any of the thumbnails to view them full screen on your device.